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As the pandemic continues, marketers are required to do what they are best at – Adapt: Nikhil Gupta, Signify Innovation India

Nikhil Gupta, Commercial Operations Manager & Head- Integrated Marketing Communications, Signify Innovations India says this outbreak hasn’t just shaken the economy, it has also reset consumer behavior and business models.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered an era of uncertainties that is currently gripping all of humanity, economies, governments and also businesses and marketing. The outbreak has caused anxiety amongst consumers across demographic divisions, disrupting the way brands reached out to customers and potential customers. As consumers are trying to figure out how to respond to a changed world, marketers need to remain nimble and reinvent strategies while optimizing budgets and performance. 

Marketers, and even other leaders, are relearning their performance metrics pretty much from scratch, like a startup would, as consumption expectations change and disposable incomes decimate.
This outbreak hasn’t just shaken the economy, it has also reset consumer behavior and business models.  How do brands continuously remain relevant for their audience? How can they assuage their customers' concerns? How can they leverage data and analytics to stay ahead of this fluid situation? These are important questions for brand managers and marketers to ask today so that they are prepared to thrive in the next phase.

Here are few things that marketers need to consider while looking to engage with their consumers in the ‘new normal’

1- Innovation: Driven by declining revenues and anxiety around spending, brands will be forced to innovate to create not just new products but new distribution models, new consumer segments, and even to enter new geographic markets. Most critical innovation will be required on establishing and re-imagining the value proposition of the product, in order to capture a higher share of the depressed market.

2- Value Offerings: With decrease in spending, as a result of lower disposable income, consumers would be more judicious and engage with only value based product offerings. Brands that truly understand the value their consumers place in them, are better positioned to ride out a crisis of this magnitude. For non-essential brands, the product mix would need to be tweaked to provide higher value at similar, seemingly more affordable, price points.

3- Returns Consciousness: With advertising budgets plummeting across the board, marketers would be even more ROI driven. Short term marketing goals would be prioritized over the broad long term goals, resulting in decline of thematic advertising campaigns and higher focus on return driven e-commerce activations 

4- Digital Is The Way Ahead: Increased focus on digital marketing would be the key for marketers across industries. Digital competencies will get fast-tracked for organisations that were still tinkering with the concept and in some cases, become the sole platform for reaching out to loyalists and prospects alike. Cost effective digital solutions would take precedence for new ways of acquiring and retaining customers. For more or less all categories of goods and services, increased focus on e-commerce would be required with consumers now preferring to get products delivered at their doorstep instead of stepping out of their homes. Online media consumption has gone up significantly in the past few weeks as life came to a grinding halt with the national lockdown.
With people confined to their houses and spending more time on devices, brands must relook at how they can create a great online experience for their audience and effectively communicate with them. 

As the world reels under the impact of Covid-19 and the situation continues to unfold, marketers are required to do what they are best at – adapt. Eventually when this subsides, consumers will reevaluate their life goals, financial priorities and purchasing decisions. Staying on top of how trends change, watching the data for insight, listening to consumers and understanding new demands will be key in emerging as a relevant and desirable brand at that time.


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